I really need help with school next year for dd (4.5 years old). She will be starting K next year and we don't know whether to keep her in the school she is now but change classrooms & lead teacher or, change schools. Both schools we are looking at are Montessori schools.
DD started a new Montessori school this year (she attended another M school last year, but we changed schools because we wanted her to attend a school with a primary & elementary program). For multiple reasons which I won't bother explaining unless someone thinks it may help, dd did not have a good school year. The teachers felt that dd may have maturity, auditory & sensory integration issues that impeded her school "work". I was concerned for several reasons, but mainly because she had already been in a M program and was very happy and did well. I tried to follow her teachers' lead about how best to help dd transition, but explained that dd did well both socially & academically the year before. It wasn't until I got her assessed by an OT, audiologist, and had an EIP screener observe her in class that they began to believe me about dd. Dd does have mild SI but they said it only seems to show up when she is stressed (we followed up with some therapy, but as the OT said, her sensitivities are not bad enough where they would hinder her. We worked mostly on self-soothing techniques).
In addition to the assessments above, I enrolled dd in a Psychology & Med School research test that assessed for "preschool readiness" (they needed healthy 4-5 year old to test as a control group). Part of the assessment was the Weschler preschool IQ test. Her scores were between 2 to 3+ standard deviations above the norm (highest scores were verbal areas). I mention this only to give you all a better idea of her special needs (along with her mild SI issues).
Interestingly, dd has asked to be moved from her classroom to another primary room since last October. I didn't know why at first, but after watching dd interact with the teacher from this other classroom, I know that they have a great bond and that dd really responds to her. This other teacher's personality & approach is completely different that the teachers she had this year. After a problematic year, the principle & teachers agree that she would be best off in this other classroom (this other teacher is also the head teacher for the school and had dealt with many gifted students). I know that she will do well with this other teacher for her last year of primary.
After this last year, I don't know if I want her in this school. They literally gave us the run around for most of the school year. Also,they don't have the best "specials" classes.
This spring dh & I found another Montessori school which we love. We've also talked to many of the parents who send their children to this Montessori school and they all have wonderful things to say about it. The school has a great family feel and in addition, they have great "specials" teachers in art, music, p.e. & environmental science (which dd really loves). The school is on 7 acres and even have an orchard, organic garden & chickens! I've met their primary teachers and they seems nice, but honestly, it is hard to tell from limited interaction.
So, my question is do I keep dd in the school she is at now, but have her change classroom with this other teacher who I know is excellent and will really help dd thrive? Or, do I put her in a new school that I feel is a better fit over all, but don';t really know much about the experience or dynamic of their teachers? If I was making the choice fresh, I would choose the school we liked over all. But, dd had a really poor year, it has effected her self-esteem in many ways and I worry if she doesn't click with the teachers and is stressed about changing schools it will have a very negative impact on my very sensitive dd.
I hope this post isn't too confusing, I'm so worked up, I can't seem to express myself clearly.